Rick O'Brien: Doubters drive Frankford quarterback

His frame is too lean. His eye-catching passing numbers were racked up against subpar competition. His abilities won't translate well at the next level.

Frankford's Tim DiGiorgio has heard it all. And the talk, he said, serves as motivation.

Tim DiGiorgio has posted impressive numbers.

"It makes me want to prove people wrong," the 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior quarterback said. "It makes me work and train harder."

Last year, playing high school football for the first time, DiGiorgio, a poised lefthander with top-notch instincts, threw for 2,317 yards and 30 touchdowns while helping lead the Pioneers to the Public League championship game.

His highlight-reel performance came in the regular-season finale. Connecting on 22 of 26 throws for 296 yards and two touchdowns, he sparked a 21-20 triumph over Gold Division rival George Washington.

In the second half against the Eagles, DiGiorgio hit on 13 of 14 throws for 131 yards. On an 11-play, 80-yard winning drive, No. 11 was 8 for 8 for 87 yards.

As a freshman and sophomore, instead of suiting up for Frankford, he played for the Frankford Chargers, a nationally known Pop Warner team.

"I think I got more out of it than I would have being a backup on Frankford's varsity," he said. "Plus, in the wing-T offense they ran, they didn't throw the ball too much. It wouldn't have been a good fit for me."

Enter new head coach Will Doggett. To the delight of DiGiorgio and classmate Renz "Rodeo" Compton, a speedy receiver, Doggett scrapped the program's long-used wing-T scheme in favor of a spread-shotgun attack.

After his stellar junior-year showing, the QB participated in two prospect camps at Penn State. During the second, which also served as an unofficial visit, he met with Nittany Lions assistant Ron Vanderlinden, the recruiting coordinator for this area.

"He said they might be looking to bring me in if Christian Hackenberg decommits," DiGiorgio said, referring to the highly touted, pro-style passer from Fork Union Military in Virginia who has maintained his commitment to the Nittany Lions.

Boston College and, most recently, Rutgers have made inquiries. At the Division I-AA level, interest has come from Villanova, Stony Brook, and Delaware.

Temple, which has a run-first spread scheme, has taken a pass on recruiting him, DiGiorgio said. "They said I didn't run a fast enough 40 time for their style of offense," he said.

Over the summer, in a 7-on-7 competition in Brooklyn, DiGiorgio teamed up with Roman Catholic's Will Fuller, Archbishop Wood's LaQuille "Dice" Nesbitt and D.J. Brinkley, and Imhotep Charter's David Williams and Brandon Chatmon.

Of the Notre Dame-bound Fuller, the signal-caller said, "It's fun throwing the ball to him. He makes plays. Nobody can stick him one-on-one."

In this year's opener, a 32-20 triumph at Hatboro-Horsham, DiGiorgio completed 11 of 15 passes for 230 yards and one score. On Friday night, in a 32-23 setback at Pennsbury, he was 12 for 23 for 150 yards and two TDs.

"It's nice to have good stats," he said. "I'd love to have another year like I did last year. But I'm fine as long as we're winning."

DiGiorgio played youth football for the Moss A.A. Eagles and Oxford Circle Raiders. "I was a lineman until I was 11 years old," he said.

Come spring, should his football future still be uncertain, the 17-year-old might join Frankford's baseball team. A pitcher and outfielder, he last played as a freshman.

"I'm pretty good in baseball," he said. "But I don't have the same love for it that I do football."


Contact Rick O'Brien

at 610-313-8019, robrien@phillynews.com,

or on Twitter @ozoneinq.

Read his blog, "The O'Zone,"

at www.philly.com/ozone